Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
LONDON TO AUCKLAND
Departing from London we fly via Singapore to Auckland, arriving mid-morning onDay 3. On arrival we take an orientation tour including views of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, before transferring to the Rendezvous Hotel. Tonight we enjoy dinner together.
TO PAIHIA AND WAITANGI TREATY HOUSE
Today we travel northwards through scenic farmland to Paihia, located in the truly magnificent Bay of Islands. Here we visit the Waitangi Treaty House, where in 1840 Maori and British people reached an historic agreement which effectively marked the birth of New Zealand. We spend two nights in Paihia at the Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge.
BAY OF ISLANDS
After a leisurely morning, today we enjoy a cruise around the bay, passing golden beaches. Later we continue up to the rugged Cape Brett, and (weather permitting) travel through the 'Hole in the Rock' to Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island.
AUCKLAND, THE ‘CITY OF SAILS’
This morning we drive south back to Auckland, the country's largest city, known as the 'City of Sails' for the number of yachts that take to the waters around it. We explore on a sightseeing tour, taking in the Hauraki Gulf and the volcanic islands that are characteristic of this beautiful area. We then visit the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum.
This morning we take a trip on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, operated by steam enthusiasts. We then travel across the Bombay Hills, through Waikato Valley to Rotorua, the Maori's spiritual home. We visit the Rotorua Museum, which gives an insight into the region's history and culture. We spend two nights in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel.
We visit Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) to see the Lady Knox Geyser volcano. Here we marvel at the rainbow-coloured pools and former mud volcano, where you can hear the unique sound of erupting, boiling mud.
NORTHERN EXPLORER TO WELLINGTON
Transferring to Hamilton, we take the Northern Explorer train for a journey through King Country. We view spectacular scenery from panoramic windows including the peaks of Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu and stunning river gorges. We spend two nights at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor or the West Plaza Hotel. On Day 10 we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Wellington. We drive along pretty Oriental Bay to Mount Victoria for stunning views and see the Parliament Buildings.
TO THE SOUTH ISLAND BY FERRY
Today we take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. On arrival in Picton we board the TranzCoastal train for a scenic journey to Christchurch via Blenheim, the Marlborough wine region and down the Pacific Coast through Kaikoura. We spend tonight at the Sudima Hotel in Christchurch and enjoy dinner together this evening.
DUNEDIN AND THE TAIERI GORGE
We cross Canterbury Plains through Timaru and Oamaru, stopping at Moeraki to see the mysterious spherical boulders scattered on the beach. We check in at the Scenic Hotel or the Quality Hotel Elms Dunedin City for two nights. On Day 13 your morning is free to explore Dunedin. In the afternoon we follow the trail of 19th century gold miners to the gold fields of Central Otago on the Taieri Gorge Railway in carriages dating back to the 1920s.
Today we travel to Te Anau, nestled by the serene waters of Lake Te Anau, the second longest lake in New Zealand. We cruise across the lake for a guided tour of the Te Anau Caves, with their subterranean limestone caverns and magical glow worm grotto. We spend two nights at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel.
We travel into the Fiordland National Park for a cruise on stunning Milford Sound. Lush rainforests cling precariously to the fiord's cliffs and the cruise takes us past magnificent waterfalls and out to the Tasman Sea. We enjoy a buffet lunch on board the ship.
This morning we travel to Queenstown, a popular destination loved by outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the magnificent surrounding scenery. Here we enjoy a ride on the Skyline Gondola, which offers a wonderful panorama, before checking in to the Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview.
QUEENSTOWN AND LAKE WAKATIPU
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour, driving across Shotover River to historic Arrowtown, the site of a major gold rush in the 1860s and a 'Lord of the Rings' film location. We continue to Gibbston Valley Winery for a tour of the cellars and wine tasting. Day 18 is at leisure, relaxing in Queenstown overlooked by Lake Wakatipu.
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
Travelling past Lake Wanaka, we descend to the Haast River. Continuing through the native rainforest by coach, we pass Fox Glacier before reaching the Franz Josef Glacier. An overnight stay and dinner at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier or Quality Hotel Elms allows us to view the glacier or to take a helicopter flight to the snowfield (payable locally).
We visit Hokitika, the centre for New Zealand jade, before boarding the TranzAlpinetrain for Christchurch at the township of Arthur's Pass. On our last night we stay at the Sudima Hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner together.